Advice for fine tuning my loads

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by mdslammer, Nov 6, 2012.

  1. mdslammer

    mdslammer Well-Known Member

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    I'm loading for my Savage BA110 .338 Lapua Magnum.

    Berger 300gr. OTM Hybrid Tactical
    H-1000 - 92gr.
    Lapua Brass
    Federal 215M Primer
    C.O.A.L. 3.681

    I tried seating from .005 to .025 off the lands. The groups just got wider the
    closer I got to the lands. My rifle seems to like the bullet seated at 3.681.

    Anyway, today I was shooting a mile. I had 9 hits out of 30 rounds. Not bad.
    So my rounds for the most part were either on target or slightly off by a few feet.
    Then, I'll have a flyer that misses by 8' up and over (either right or left). Then
    I'll have another 5 or 6 rounds that are back to being on or very close.

    Now I'm taking into consideration it's probably me being the cause of this but...
    maybe there's something I'm not doing during my reloading process that would make my loads more consistent.

    I use an RCBS Chargemaster Scale. It dispenses 92.0 grains everytime for the charge. I use Lapua Brass and Federal Primers for all the loads.

    I seat all the bullets to OAL 3.681/3.680 depth.

    So that leaves the bullet. What can I look for or do to make sure they are all uniform? Supposedly they all weigh 300gr. So that leaves me
    to believe maybe there maybe some issue with the overall length of each bullet? Or?

    Or would there be any inconsistencies with the brass? If so, what to look for
    or do?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. I just started reloading not 3 months back so I'm quite new at this.

    Regards.

    MDslammer / Mark
     
  2. SBruce

    SBruce Well-Known Member

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    Wow, just been handloading for a few months and already on to 1 mile shooting? Nothin like throwing yourself to the wolves!:)

    How long have you been shooting long range? What kind of groups do you see your load shoot at 500 yds, or 1000 yds or 1300 yds?

    Without more info, I'd say first thing to do is get your load tuned in at a closer target. Unless you've been shooting LR for many years, tons of problems can surface at 1 mile. Some might be load, some rifle, some shooter, some rest, some wind..........the list goes on and on.
     

  3. dbhostler

    dbhostler Well-Known Member

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    A mile is a long ways out there. Many things can affect POI. A puff of wind can move you quite a bit. So can the rest you use, how you hold each shot. But you know this if you shoot long range. The brass should be good. The bullets should be also very good. You can however measure the bullets ogive and weigh them even true the hollowpoint. You can also try a different primer even though the 215Ms should be very consistant. Flyers happen at any distance to just about everyone. You could mark the cases with the flyers and see if they do the same next time they're fired, but I doubt it.
    db
     
  4. SBruce

    SBruce Well-Known Member

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    The easiest way to answer some of your questions would be to recommend a DVD.

    Shawn Carlock is very good at extreme long range shooting, and he's made a DVD titled Reloading for Long Range Hunting It's a good video and it shows the techniques he uses when loading ammo for the 338 Edge (very similar to the 338 Lapua).

    Even further in depth, there are certain benchrest techniques that ensure the brass and bullets are at utmost consistancy/precision. However, some of these techniques are simply a waste of time with a factory rifle IMO. The added accuracy will never be realized because the rifle/barrel/crown is still the last thing the bullet touches before its flight, no matter how good the ammo is.


    Could try seating those hybrids even further back from the lands. They are not supposed to be as picky as the VLD's on seating depth.

    I'd also ensure nothing else is happening on the bench when the chargemaster is dispensing powder. Heard tale that bench movement or vibration can throw it off. Also heard tale that electrical voltage variance can throw them off. Do you live in an area that's got good electricity without any lights flickering ever? I don't, so I use a beam scale and trickle well within 1/10 grn every charge.

    Again, tons and tons of possibilities. a mile is so damn far, most folks get their loads shooting as tight as possible at 1000 yds before attempting the mile stuff. I am not saying you didn't, I just dont know what you've tried and haven't tried.

    Best of luck.
     
  5. mdslammer

    mdslammer Well-Known Member

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    I've been shooting LR/ELR for about 7 months.

    I don't shoot the .338 anything less than 1000yds. I tested some loads yesterday at 100 yds. The bullets seated from .005K to .025K were not too good. My rifle seemed to shoot the best with the manual recomendations of 3.681. The group was the tightes with this seating. Likes more jump.

    I'm sure a lot falls on me, the shooter. I'm a novice at best. Been shooting rifles for only 2 years. Started with my Remmy .308 and then the BA110 .338 last year.
     
  6. mdslammer

    mdslammer Well-Known Member

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    Brass: I use nothing but Lapua and Federal 215M Magnum Primers
    Berger Bullets / OTM Hybrid TAC. Both 250gr. and 300gr. I have used SMK 250gr. with good luck but I think the Bergers fly a littler better for my rifle.

    Good suggestion measuring the ogive and I'll make sure about the weight and
    length while am at it.

    Good suggestion marking the case/flyers.

    Thanks.

    Mark
     
  7. mdslammer

    mdslammer Well-Known Member

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    I'll check out the DVD you mentioned.

    I have the bullet seated at the manuals recomendation of 3.681. Do you think
    I should seat even further down? Won't this compress the load or not?

    Good suggestion re: the Chargemaster. I'll take the necessary steps to enure
    even a more accurate load if I possibly can.

    Thanks again.

    Mark
     
  8. SBruce

    SBruce Well-Known Member

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    Compressing the powder will be determined by the powder you're using and the charge. Is it slightly compressed with your current seating depth?

    Another variable that you could play with would be powder itself. I was instructed to use Retumbo in mine, so that's what I started with and still using.
     
  9. mdslammer

    mdslammer Well-Known Member

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    SB,

    Right now seated at 3.681, it is NOT compressed. I'm using Hodgdon H-1000 -92gr. for the Berger 300gr.
    I tried Retumbo. It was OK but not as good as H-1000 IMHO.

    I think maybe, in addition to everything that's been suggested so far, I may
    reduce the amount of powder incrementally. Maybe by doing so I can get even
    tighter groups at 100 yds.

    I chrono'd my loads this past Monday. All with Lapua Brass, Fed. 215 Primers and H-1000 powder.

    SMK 250gr. / 100gr. seated at 3.680 / 3215 fps (this was a good load as far as groups)
    Berger 250gr. / 100gr. / .010 off lands / 3155 FPS (not good grouping)
    Berger 300gr. / 92gr. / .020 & .025 off lands (groups were so-so) 2850 FPS
     
  10. SBruce

    SBruce Well-Known Member

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    How many rounds did you chrono of each load?
    What was the ES for the best grouping load?

    Reason I ask is that if just one round out of every 6 is 60'/sec faster than the majority, that would equate to over 4' of vertical at a mile.

    Shawns' video goes over some tips on how to reduce neck tension variance and improve extreme velocity spreads too. You can buy it on this site from the LR store.
     
  11. mdslammer

    mdslammer Well-Known Member

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    I did 5 rounds for 6 different loads I had.
    Not sure what ES is?
     
  12. SBruce

    SBruce Well-Known Member

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    ES is the extreme velocity spread between all shots fired. Difference between the slowest and the fastest. This is a vital thing to control when shooting beyond 1/2 mile, and especially at 1 mile.

    Even just 30'/sec ES will give 2' vertical in our groups at a mile. That's not considering shooter error and anything else but one shot going 30'/sec faster or slower than a previous one.

    Next time out with the crono, might try shooting 10 or 12 shots just to see if you're getting a wild velocity every 6 or so.
     
  13. mdslammer

    mdslammer Well-Known Member

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    Thanks SB for the info and suggestion. I will try it next time I chrono my loads.

    Best.

    Mark
     
  14. SBruce

    SBruce Well-Known Member

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    You're welcome, Good Luck.